Asian House Church Network Responds with Inspiring Generosity
It is amazing how much the coronavirus has changed life in such a short period of time. The countries of the Asia-Pacific Area — with a combined population of over 4 billion people — are no exception.
On April 1, I gathered on Zoom with a group of national leaders of The Wesleyan Church in Asia to discuss how COVID-19 was affecting each of our countries. Leaders on the call from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and others all reported the devastating impact of the coronavirus in their areas.
These are countries that, by and large, do not get much international media coverage for reported illnesses and deaths from the virus itself. However, many of our church family members in these areas are day laborers. They work hard, but they do not have the consistent employment to which many people are accustomed. They cannot work remotely from home, and they do not have savings accounts at the bank.
As leader after leader shared, the pattern became clear: countries were implementing strict but necessary lockdowns to stop the spread of COVID-19, and, as a result, many church members were left without any money. Their families could not get food. Starvation was becoming a real threat. And churches could not take care of their pastors, as members’ incomes were drastically affected.
Our Asian leaders expressed a desire not only to care for their church families, but also to meet the needs of their communities. What better opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus — if only they had the resources.
I ended the call by saying, “As we partner together as one global Church family, we would love to find some ways we can meet each other’s needs. People in my home country are struggling too. I can’t guarantee we can help, but let’s keep sharing the needs with each other.”
One of the people on the call — we’ll call her Nancy — is from a country where she cannot be open about her faith in Jesus. It was her first time being part of one our area meetings. She didn’t say much throughout the call. But after the call ended, she went back to her network of house churches and shared about the need. They decided they wanted to help their Christian brothers and sisters in other countries, and they officially began collecting funds for this purpose on April 6.
You can imagine my surprise, when, one week later, I received word that members of this house church network had given over $42,000 (U.S.) to support those in need in the surrounding countries!
They had given as the Macedonian Church gave nearly 2,000 years ago in response to a critical food need of their Judean sisters and brothers. Paul describes their gift in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5: “And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us” (NIV).
Many of us feel powerless in the face of this global health and economic crisis. Let us be inspired by the power of the Spirit displayed through this Asian house church network. And may we respond to those in need around us with such beautiful generosity.
To help Wesleyan churches around the world, give to Global Partners’ COVID-19 Global Response Fund by clicking HERE.